Mel Brooks, whose real name was Melvin Kaminsky and who was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 28, 1926, is an American film and TV director, producer, writer, and actor. His movies made outrageousness and vulgarity into high comedy art.
Work and Early Life
By the time Brooks graduated from high school and joined the U.S. Army in 1944, he was a good mimic, pianist, and drummer. As part of the Army Specialized Training Program, he went to the Virginia Military Institute to get training. He was a combat engineer in Europe during World War II.
After the war, he became a professional comedian, emcee, and social director at resorts in the Catskill Mountains (the so-called Borscht Belt). In 1949, he started writing for The Admiral Broadway Revue, a weekly TV show with Sid Caesar.
Brooks stayed with Caesar until 1958 and wrote for his other TV shows, including the famous comedy series Your Show of Shows, which ran from 1950 to 1954 and was written by Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart, among others.
In 1967, he won an Emmy Award for co-writing the variety show The Sid Cesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special. Brooks also helped write the scripts for the musicals Shinbone Alley (1957) and All American (1958).
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Brooks became well-known as a performer in 1960, when he and Reiner, who was acting as an interviewer, did “The 2,000 Year Old Man.” This was a mostly improvised bit that they did on TV and on best-selling comedy record albums.
Brooks got his start in the movie business when he wrote and narrated The Critic (1963), an animated short that made fun of avant-garde films and won an Oscar. Then, he and Buck Henry made the TV show Get Smart, which ran from 1965 to 1970 and made fun of the James Bond-style spy movies.
Work as an Actor and a Producer
Brooks started an independent movie company called Brooksfilms. He also worked as the executive producer of serious “quality” films like The Elephant Man (1980), Frances (1982, uncredited), and 84 Charing Cross Road (1987), which starred his second wife, Anne Bancroft, whom he married in 1964.
Brooks and Bancroft were both in To Be or Not to Be, a remake of the same-named Ernst Lubitsch movie that came out in 1983. As an actor, he was on the popular TV sitcom Mad About You, for which he won three Emmys, and he was also a guest star on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm.
He won a Grammy Award for the spoken-word comedy album The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000. He also lent his voice to a number of TV shows and movies.
Among these was the animated Hotel Transylvania series (2015, 2018). In the animated movie Toy Story 4, which came out in 2019, he gave Melephant Brooks a voice.
Brooks was married to Broadway dancer Florence Baum from 1953 until they split up in 1962. Stephanie, Nicky, and Eddie were their three kids. Brooks married actress Anne Bancroft in 1964, and they were together until her death in 2005.
They met at a Perry Como Variety Show rehearsal in 1961. Three years later, on August 5, 1964, they got married at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. Max Brooks, their son, was born in 1972, and Henry Michael Brooks, their grandson, was born in 2005.
In 2010, Brooks said that Bancroft was “the guiding force” behind his work on The Producers and Young Frankenstein for the musical theatre. He said of their first meeting, “From that day until her death, we were glued together.”
Brooks said the following about religion:
“I am not very religious. I’m pretty much Jewish. But I don’t think I’m Jewish because I follow the Jewish faith. I think it’s because of the people I know and how proud I am of them. The tribe lived through so many bad things and was so brave and gave the world so much knowledge and showed courage.”
Brooks said this about Jewish movies:
“They can be anything, and they can be anywhere. If there’s a tribal thing, like the “please God, protect us” feeling, we don’t know where and how it’s going to come out. Avatar was a Jewish movie because it was about people who were on the run and being chased.”
Brooks backed Joe Biden for president in 2020. This was the first time he had publicly backed a political candidate.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Mel Brooks’s Net Worth?
Mel Brooks’s net worth is $100 million. He is an American comedian, producer, director, composer, and writer. His most well-known movies are probably Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
What Was Mel Brooks’s Last Movie?
Brooks then made Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), a parody of 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in which Kevin Costner played the legendary outlaw hero and was generally criticised for it. Dracula: Dead and Loving It was Brooks’ last movie as a director, and it wasn’t very good (1995).
Mel Brooks Is How Old Now?
96 years old. (28 June 1926)